Five Fun-Facts on Tinnitus



The term Tinnitus was coined in 1601 by the philosopher Pliny the Elder, the definition being, ‘Eares ringing and singing, or having them any unnaturall sound and noise.’ His treatments for tinnitus included various mixtures including leek juice, breast milk, rose oil, cumin and honey.


Radiohead released a ‘Tinnitus Mix’ of their 2009 song Stupid Car with white noise mixed in. White noise is often useful in the management of tinnitus as it can cover up the sound of the ringing, and therefore reduce the awareness of it.


Smoking cigarettes is not only harmful to your lungs, the toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke have also been linked to chronic ear infections, hearing loss and tinnitus. It all comes down to what’s in your smoke, and many contain toxic chemicals – ones that can cause damage to the delicate inner ear. One study in particular, reported that of workers exposed to the same amount of noise daily, those who smoked had four times greater incidence of hearing loss than those who didn’t.


In large part, audiology was born out of war-time, with the profession solidifying during the second World War, with treatment of returning veterans. Today, its relationship to the profession continues, with tinnitus and hearing loss ranked the most common injuries for Australian soldiers returning home from Afghanistan and Iraq.


A common misconception is that tinnitus is a disease or illness in itself, however, it is best described as a symptom of one or many underlying issues. Modern management strategies seek to alleviate the tinnitus intensity by targeting these issues as directly as possible. These include avenues such as stress reduction, wax management, muscular relaxation for issues such as whiplash or TMJ, or the use of hearing aids.

By Yovina Khiroya